House postpones federal pay freeze vote

Tuesday - 1/22/2013, 5:01pm EST

The House has postponed a vote on a bill to extend the federal pay freeze through the rest of 2013.

The House had been scheduled to vote Wednesday on a bill introduced last week by Rep. Ron DeSantis that would block the slight pay raise — 0.5 percent — for federal workers mandated by President Barack Obama last month.

In its place, the House is set to vote on a measure withholding congressional pay unless lawmakers pass a budget — part of a broader deal to extend the debt limit.

The weekly floor schedule posted on the website for House Majority Leader Eric Cantor states the House will consider Wednesday "Legislation Conditioning an Increase in the Nation's Debt Limit Upon Congress Passing a Budget."

That's a reference to a bill known as "No Budget, No Pay," introduced by Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.), which temporarily lifts the debt limit but also requires both chambers of Congress to pass a budget or else have their members' pay withheld.

The pay provision is aimed squarely at the Democratic-controlled Senate, which hasn't passed a budget in nearly four years.

Camp's bill extends the government's borrowing authority to cover government spending through May 19 but also would withhold lawmakers' salaries (and place them in escrow) if the respective chamber they hail from fails to pass a fiscal 2014 budget by April 15.

DeSantis' pay freeze bill had garnered a large number of co-sponsors. It's unclear when it will be taken up again. Federal News Radio has requested comment from Cantor's office.

Supporters of the bill said the government couldn't afford to lift the freeze on federal pay, which, supporters contended, would cost $11 billion over 10 years.

Federal-employee unions blasted the proposal saying feds have already contributed billions of dollars in deficit reduction through the current two-year pay freeze.

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